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'Mr. Redmond' to Try Aging with Grace
My inbox recently yielded an e-mail with the words Aging Gracefully in the subject line. I laughed out loud.
Come on, me? Aging Gracefully? Oh, I’ve got the aging part down. The hair on my head has more salt than pepper in it these days. When I go up and down the stairs, my knees sound like someone’s cracking walnuts. When I wake up in the morning, I make the same exact noise my father used to make when he woke up in the morning, a sort of combination of a garbage disposal being unclogged, and an unhappy moose.
Everything I eat either turns straight to fat or gives me gas. I have to use a magnifying glass to read the fine print on all my prescription bottles. I find myself beginning more and more conversations with “Back when I was your age. …”
I remember television commercials I saw 40 years ago, but I’m not sure about what I had for dinner last night. I can’t find any radio stations I really, really like. Movies? Oh, you have to be joking.
So aging I can do.
It’s the gracefully part that’s going to give me trouble.
See, despite all the evidence, I don’t really believe myself to be as aging at all. By my internal calendar, I’m still a kid. A pup. A young man. OK, young-ish. I still love to play guitar. Electric guitar. With the volume turned way up.
I still love to ride motorcycles, and not those two-wheeled Barcalounger touring bikes, either.
I still like rock and roll, when I can find it. Seems to be in short supply these days. And cartoons. I still love cartoons. Oh, and I could still idle away hours in front of the TV set watching Green Acres, the Beverly Hillbillies, I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show and all the other stuff I watched when I should have been doing my homework.
Aging gracefully? It’s just not possible, and here’s why:
I’m not sure that I’ve ever really thought of myself as a grownup.
I’m a Baby Boomer®, after all, and while that means that I’ve had it pretty good since the day I was born, it also means that I am a child of people who really knew how to be adults. They were a powerful grownup presence, and I think vestiges of it linger still in many Boomer psyches.
You know, I never, EVER heard my father dismiss someone calling him “Mr. Redmond” with that old “Mr. Redmond was my father, call me Pat” routine. Someone calls ME Mr. Redmond and I look around to see if Dad popped up behind me. Which would actually be nice. I miss Dad.
Now, I’m not saying I am one of those arrested-development Man-Boy head cases. I do have some grown-up in me. I know how to dress. I can tie a bow tie. I’m comfortable in grown-up situations – fancy restaurants, board meetings, important lectures, that sort of thing. I can even be graceful when it’s called for. Well, graceful for a guy with a hiney the size of an imported car.
There’s nothing we can do about aging, of course. But, after some consideration, I think I’ll try to be a little more graceful about it. How? Well, I’ll start by really, truly accepting the fact that I am, in fact, an adult.
Right after Quick Draw McGraw is over.
© 2008 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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